The capital of the only convict-free settlement of the time in Australia is a superb city. Take in the scenery, learn about its history, and experience a different side of the country.
Once you step foot in Adelaide, you won’t believe it’s not 10 times more popular with tourists. After all, the city and its surroundings have something to offer visitors of all ages.
Whether you like museums, nature, thrill rides, and adventure, know that Adelaide has it all. Check out the things that you shouldn’t leave off of your itinerary.
#1 – Relax at the Adelaide Botanical Garden
It’s one of the best things to do in Adelaide on a hot day. Check out the amazing garden that goes back to 1857.
It features a design that bears resemblance to both the Versaille and the Royal Gardens. However, the abundance of native flora is what gives it a unique appeal.
You also have access to the Museum of Botany, a bicentennial conservatory, and a one-of-a-kind section in the National Rose Trial garden.
The Adelaide Botanical Garden is truly a perfect spot to grab some shade, learn about local plant life, and, of course, take memorable pictures.
#2 – Take a Heritage Tour
Adelaide has many fascinating old buildings. Its architectural heritage is most impressive to this day, a credit to the excellent preservation work.
If you want to see them for yourself, know that self-guided tours are easy to plan. Some of the most popular heritage Adelaide attractions are even scattered in the city center.
However, taking a guided tour is much better. It provides you with a learning opportunity to find out more about the city’s culture and rich history.
#3 – Visit the Cleland Conservation Park
If you’re looking for more outdoor things to do in Adelaide, take a short trip from the city center to the Cleland Conservation Park. Here, you can see the scenic Waterfall Gully Reserve.
The Cleland Wildlife Park is also in the area. It’s a great spot if you want to get cozy with koalas, emus, and a variety of native animals.
At the end of your trip, you can check out Mt. Lofty. It’s one of the most idyllic lookouts in the area and offers a superb panoramic view of Adelaide.
#4 – Hop on the Tram and Go to the Beach
Adelaide doesn’t have world-famous beaches like other major Australian cities. But a trip to the Gulf St. Vincent near Glenelg is still one of the best things to do in Adelaide.
The 25-minute trip on the city’s only remaining tram is quite scenic. Once you’re away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Adelaide, you’ll arrive at the site of the oldest European settlement in the whole of South Australia.
It’s a sheltered location with calm waters that’s excellent for swimming and other water activities, aside from surfing.
You can also spend some time at the local amusement park. It’s also worth mentioning that fishing off the pier, swimming with dolphins, and sailing are among the top Adelaide activities in the gulf.
#5 – Visit the Giant Pandas
Built in the late 19th century, the Adelaide Zoo is another hot tourist attraction. The facility has an educational focus and hosts a very entertaining collection of animals.
Everyone wants to see the playful giant pandas housed here. But other sections like the aviaries, the orangutan enclosure, and the vertical garden are pretty interesting, too.
If you’re looking for things to do in Adelaide with kids, you can take them to the petting zoo. It houses a variety of furry native animals that are always waiting for visitors to pet, cuddle, and feed them.
#6 – Tour the Migration Museum
Located behind the State Library, this museum is one of Adelaide’s most fascinating attractions.
Inside, you can learn all about three centuries of immigration that helped make South Australia what it is today. You’ll also get to find out about the pre-colonization period and how foreign cultures impacted and shaped the territory – interesting personal stories from early settlers and other immigrants paint a detailed picture.
A tour of the museum is worthwhile for another reason. It’s one of the most entertaining free things to do in Adelaide – a great idea for budget travelers.
#7 – Cruise the River Torrens
It’s the city’s most iconic body of water. A river cruise offers a perfect opportunity to take in the city’s picturesque scenery, facilities, and important structures.
What’s more, you have a wide range of choices regarding the method of transportation. Tours of the River Torrens can occur on boats, kayaks, canoes, or even on paddle boats.
As a word of caution, don’t try to swim in the river as it’s a no-contact zone.
#8 – Experience the National Wine Center
If you don’t want to go on a long half-day tour of the wineries, this may be the next best thing. The National Wine Center offers an alternative look at South Australia’s wine-making traditions.
Prepare for a unique educational experience. Book a spot for a wine class or wine dinner. Sample something from the country’s largest tasting room with 120 varieties on display.
And if you run into bad weather during your Adelaide vacation, this is a perfect place to park for a few hours.
#9 – Check out the Museums
Fancy a museum tour? You can find the Maritime Museum, the Aviation Museum, and the National Railway Museum in close proximity to each other.
It’s where you can learn everything you need to know about all methods of transportation used today. The Railway Museum may be of particular interest to train or history buffs.
The machines in all of the museums are in perfect condition. And the various interactive displays will intrigue visitors of all ages.
#10 – Enjoy an Oasis of Serenity
Ever wondered what is there to do outside of downtown Adelaide? Consider paying a visit to the Himeji Garden.
This garden was a gift from Himeji, Japan, Adelaide’s sister city. The garden features two distinct styles – senzui and kare senzui.
Here, you’ll notice classic elements such as a zen rock garden, koi ponds, a lake, and more. And many birds make the garden their home.
Picnics are allowed, but you won’t get much noise from crowds at the Himeji Garden despite that. That is exactly why it’s an ideal spot to unwind.
An Australian Gem in Every Right
Vacationing in Adelaide is quite different than going to Sydney, the Gold Coast, and other busy locations. That said, you can still experience the outback and the native flora, interact with wildlife, visit the beach, and learn about the culture. The city offers a tamer way of doing these things.